Sunday, February 18, 2007

0.6%

That's last year's growth of the denomination that my church represents. We failed to keep up with the rate of population growth in this country. Over eighty percent of PCA churches had less than 5 adult baptisms last year--mine was one of them.

In a recent sermon, Richard Pratt of Reformed Theological Seminary gives several reasons for the lack of growth in the PCA. Mainly, it boils down to self-centeredness. It's apathy for others and --although we deny it-- for God, and a desire for our own ease and prosperity.

When we fail to evangelize not only does God's kingdom in our local church not grow, but also God's kingdom around the world suffers. Because we do not evangelize our churches are too small to do much of anything about reaching Muslims, or Russians, or illegal immigrants, etc, etc.

Dr. Pratt thinks the solution is to evangelize our neighbors, co-workers, and family. I think more will be required to make any difference. We ought to evangelize those in our immediate circles, but we also need open eyes to see unreached mission fields in our environment. For instance, today at the base park I noticed many of the on-base dorm residents walking over to the base exchange. It reminded me of a college campus. Would a RUF-type ministry be effective in reaching the on-base, single military population? It's something to pray and think about.

2 comments:

Cody said...

Tim,

How do we parse data like this without worrying too much about growth as a sign of faithfulness?

Cody

Tim said...

For me the data serves to support my own experience. How often have I shared the gospel over the last year? Or to get to the heart matters, how strong is the evangelistic desire within me? Then I look at the churches I've been part of. How often do I see or hear of others sharing their faith? How many do I know that are zealous and active in spreading the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the reality of Hell, the delight of God, etc. Too few.